By Gina Harden
OXNARD – Monday evening, the Oxnard Chapter of the Knights of Columbus (KOC), hosted their annual Civic Night to honor those in public service. About 150 KOC members and community guests gathered for a dinner banquet featuring speaker Jacqui Irwin, Assemblymember 44th District. Distinguished guests included Oxnard and Port Hueneme police officers, councilmembers, and Mayors.
The KOC was founded in 1882 and boasts two million members. The Oxnard chapter is more than 100 years old. When asked why a Catholic fraternity would host a pro-choice speaker, Tim McDougall acknowledged that there was some concern and discussion, but responded, “we understand that we’re going to have differences with our elected representatives.”
Irwin made brief remarks and was presented with a compass to help her guide the State. She touted $7.5 million dollars secured for emergency repairs to the Oxnard wastewater treatment plant. As Chair of the Veterans Committee, she worked on the Veteran’s Housing & Homeless Act and has focused on mental health and education for veterans.
She also highlighted the Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) which she and former Sheriff Dean championed in the wake of the Borderline tragedy. Three million dollars has also been earmarked for funding local law enforcement’s gun confiscation efforts. Irwin authored three of the 15 gun control bills signed into law by Governor Newsom. One of the new laws removed the cap on costs for obtaining a Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) permit. Currently, in Ventura County, the total cost is about $500 for a two year permit including background check and mandatory training. She defended the law saying that they wanted the Sheriff’s department to be able to recoup their costs. “I don’t want one part of government to subsidize another.”
Irwin also replied to questions about the Ron Helus Blue Bowl. She rejected claims that she withdrew her support due to Ronda Baldwin-Kennedy’s participation; instead, focusing on what she described as “divisive” singer Joy Villa and stating her preference for a singer from the local community. She blamed event planner Mike Randall and claimed the event was “mischaracterized.” Irwin wouldn’t comment on Chief Tim Hagel’s inflammatory comments.